Nursing Alumna accepts Dean position at an institute in Islamabad, Pakistan

Dr. Amynah Mevawala strives to put her knowledge and expertise towards enhancing the quality of education, practice and research in the field of nursing.

28 April 2021

Dr. Amynah Mevawala is looking forward to the next chapter in her nursing journey as Dean and Professor of Nursing at an institute in Islamabad, Pakistan. 

“Throughout my career in nursing, I worked at different organizations and various capacities from clinical/community nursing to teaching, research, and administration. But I found my interest and passion in academic management and research,” explains Dr. Mevawala, who completed her Ph.D. program at the University of Alberta Faculty of Nursing in 2020. 

Her vast work experience enables her to be competent, confident and empowered to continue working toward enhancing the quality of education, practice and research in the field of nursing.

Below, Dr. Mevawala shares why she loves the profession of nursing, why she chose the U of A for her graduate studies, and her aspirations for her new role. 

Why did you choose to become a nurse and what is it you love most about the profession?

Nursing was not my first choice — but my mother always wished I would become a nurse. My journey of nursing began when I attended an open house at The Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan and its School of Nursing at the time. I was intrigued to study at the finest university in the country offering a complete package of physical, mental, emotional, and professional growth. It provided an international standard of nursing education by highly qualified and experienced faculty from around the world, including Canada and the U.S. 

In addition, it was His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan’s vision for nursing that kept me going in the field. I was always fond of learning new things from anywhere and anytime. Thus, I became a lifelong learner in the profession of nursing. This is the beauty that I found in nursing that its scope is so broad that everyone can find their area of interest under the wider umbrella of nursing.

Why did you choose UAlberta to pursue graduate studies? What did your graduate research focus on?

I wanted to acquire the best education possible in a vibrant and pluralistic environment to prepare me for the future challenges of the profession and healthcare overall. I’d learned from its alumni that the faculty of nursing at the University of Alberta has one of the highly qualified and experienced faculty members. They are skilled and competent in teaching and research.

 Although I had conducted quantitative research for my master’s program and had come with a mindset of conducting a randomized controlled trial for my Ph.D. study, the program provided me with different opportunities of learning and involved in working with other research designs. This exploration of various research methodologies enabled me to take the bold step of indulging myself in the process of conducting qualitative research. With the guidance and support of my supervisor and committee members, I was able to conduct focused ethnography research to explore the urban Pakistani Muslim midlife women’s experiences of menopause

During my studies at the UAlberta, I received several leadership opportunities, awards and scholarships to hone my personal and professional skills, disseminate my research findings, groom my leadership qualities, and create local, national, and international networks.

U of A’s nursing faculty consistently ranks among the top programs in the world. What makes for a great nursing program?

I believe that nurses are important pillars of the healthcare system. If we want to build a healthy nation, we need to have a strong healthcare system, and for that nurses need to be competent, compassionate, ethical and empowered. To inculcate these qualities and characteristics, nursing students at any level, undergraduate or graduate, need proper and timely guidance and support from their faculty mentors/supervisors and the leadership in addition to the conducive learning environment. 

I have seen these qualities in the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Alberta. They provide and create opportunities for growth, learning, and innovation. They instil in their students the attitude and curiosity of inquiry, and inclusivity and respect for diversity of race, religion, cultures, and opinions. They ignite the spark for creativity and rationalization. They make changes in the curriculum based on the needs of the time. And, I believe, these are the ingredients needed to make a great nursing program and to prepare competent, compassionate, ethical, and empowered nursing professionals.  

What does accepting the position of Dean at the institute in Islamabad, Pakistan mean to you? What excites you most about this new position? What scares you?

We are lucky to have a pool of highly qualified nursing professionals in the developed part of the world compared to the developing and underdeveloped countries. There is a great need for qualified nursing professionals in developing countries to enhance the profession and to prepare better nurses for society. After some needed discussions with my family, I came to the conclusion to accept the role as the Dean and Professor of Nursing and go abroad to serve my country of origin, which I knew was not free of challenges. 

I am passionate about improving the status of the nursing profession, especially in the less privileged parts of the world. However, it was a challenging decision for me and my family having been settled in Canada for the last few years. It meant sacrificing the current quality of life, living alone and away from the family, and living and working in a resource-limited environment.

Over time, I have learned that working in academia and academic management is where my interest and passion are. Having worked at leadership positions including as Director and Associate Professor gave me the courage and confidence to accept the position as the Dean and Professor at PIHS, Islamabad. That is one thing that excites me the most; I love my job with every breath. Every day comes with a new challenge and gives me new learning. 

What’s on your radar for your first year as Dean?

As soon as I take charge as Dean, I would like to put my knowledge and experience to streamline the nursing education system in place and to develop contextually relevant and measurable systems to enhance the quality and standard of education for nurses. 

Next, I would like to gather a pool of qualified and experienced nursing professionals to enable initiating sustainable graduate programs in nursing that is much needed in the country.